Lexmark printers with “Hardware Error 0502”

Good tip for the Lexmark All-in-one inkjet printer owners (mine is the X6170):

Lexmark Hardware Error 0502After some months of use, your printer might get the habit of stopping in the middle of a page and showing “Hardware Error 0502” on the LCD display. If you leave the printer alone for a while, it might start printing again. Then again, it might not. Pretty annoying.

The Lexmark support site will let you power off, remove the power cord for 30 seconds (!!), take out the cartridges and fiddle with some encoder strip. This whole procedure might take you up to 30 minutes and it will not help (been there, done that).

The real answer is given by a person called ‘clem’:

Lexmark metal barHardware Error: 0502.

On the multi function machine seems to be a coating on the metal rod that the cartridges travel on. Just wipe this rod with a kleenex and the problem seems to go away. Somehow it presents a drag on the cartridges and causes an error.

(from fixyourownprinter.com)

This works! Clean the sucker with a paper towel (another page talks about re-lubricating the thing, but that was not necessary in my case). The towel will be black (ink residu, presumably), but there you go printing to your heart’s desire again.
Lexmark problem solved
A big thank-you to Clem, Google and the wisdom of crowds!

UPDATE: also seems to work for some Dell printers (some of them are manufactured by Lexmark)

262 thoughts on “Lexmark printers with “Hardware Error 0502””

  1. Yup, this is the trick. I had noticed that I couldn’t print on fast mode but it worked OK on slower modes. The rod must have been dirty enough but not too dirty.

    Had the same problem with a VCR ejecting tapes, all I had to do was use rubbing alcohol and qtips to get the black dust out of machine and it would work fine.

  2. hey guys. (if anyone is still here) if any of you took the time time to mess with the encoder strip, how didi you get it in the slot? I kind of messed up and took it off the back of the cartriges. So now I can’t get it back on and my printer reads this error immediately after power on. help. thanks!

  3. C.J. Wrote about the encoder strip popped out of its slot on the cartridge carrier.

    C.J. if you unplug the printer, move the carrier carefully to the middle. Next, gently press down on the encoder strip with one finger on each side of the carrier. You are basically moving it down, slightly forward, and then let it go back up again. This will place the encoder strip back into its slot on the carrier.

    If that fails, go to support.lexmark.com and search the knowledgebase. It might have a pic that explains it better.

  4. Hello:
    I have a Lexmark X4270 ” all in one ” printer, and since the day I picked it up (new) it has never worked well.
    Now the silly thing decides to quite printing all together.
    Cleaned the cartridges, did an alignment, but it refuses to print,does not copy or print, seems like the cartridges are to high over the paper, at first it just got lighter, and lighter, then nothing, have the unit apart, but can’t see any problem..could it be electronic!!New Cart’s. Help, Help Bernard

  5. I have had the “0502”error problem for the last few days. I thought that the cartriges might be bad, so i replaced them. Unnecessary. At my workplace, I am a VUTEK digital printing operator, and every two days, I have to clean the encoding strip to make sure of getting good signal from the printhead. In addition, I lube the guiderail for every eight hours use.(required).
    If any of you are having the “0502” error prob. I recommend, before taking anything apart, to simply turn off your printer, then slide the cartriges all the way to the left, and GENTLY wipe the encoding strip running right behind the cartrige carrier.(it will look like a translucent piece of plastic strip in most printers). Wipe it down with a soft cloth gently, then slide the cartriges all the way to the right, and repeat this process.
    When you are done, simply close the cover, power back up, and see if it will print a test page for you.( In some, you will prompt it, in some it will do it on its own.) I had this sucess on my Dell 940 in all one printer.
    Good luck to all!!!

  6. After searching Lexmark’s website to try and figure out why my Z53 wasn’t working, telling me my printer was offline, and Lexmark’s site was TOTALLY USELESS, I Googled up the problem, & after only an hour or so, I stumbled inadvertently on the above solution to the problem. The cartridge carrier was indeed unconnected from the little strip thingy behid the cartridges. Once I knew how to slip it back on, the problem was solved. The Web is a wonderful place indeed.

  7. Have a lexmark 6170 and had the 0502 for awhile now. finally the ‘strip’ popped off on both sides. Website is no help. I need photos. Where does the strip pop back in to? It is about 14-15″ long, less than a 1/4″ in width, clear grey color, each end has a 1/8″ hole in it. One end has the letter ‘F’ the other ‘D’. Can’t even use the scanner until this problem is fixed. HELP!

  8. I have a 6170, and for some reason, the power doesn’t wirk anymore.
    I have changed outlets, called customer service, troubleshooted with them, and still it doesn’t go on. The power pack in the back is warm, so it works. It’s weird…1 day it works. The next, it doesn’t.
    Anybody know anything about this problem?

  9. Hey, great stuff.
    I was about to throw the freakin’ thing in the trash.
    A quick wipe and away it went!
    Practical advice that the manufacturers should heed.

  10. Hi, so sorry if I’m posting in the wrong place, but i Need help!
    I have a P4350 Lexmark. I have just replaced both catridges and it was printing fine and then it came up with error 1102 , the black catridge error apparently.
    I have taken out, cleaned, shaked to get rid of any possible airbubbles, wiped inside, all a few times and still nothing!
    Can anyone help me, I’m lost without my printer!

  11. Lexmark P3450
    ah thanks but seen that page and tried everything! the catridges are new and genuine (as far as i know) Lexmark so I don’t knwo whay i am having this prob.

  12. Have a Dell A940 this worked for me too, thanks. many hours of headaches trying new cartridges and fiddling with the encoder strip with no success. So thanks for the advise!

  13. I am eternally grateful!! I can’t even tell you how many resources I’ve wasted on this problem. Started when I innocently installed a new black cartridge …. Two weeks of trying to print checks and invoices for my clients – messed up the checks, gone thru a ton of paper, ink, etc! I’ve shut everything down, pulled the power cord, re-installed the cartridges, printed test pages – you name it. Out of desperation I found your solution. Wiped the bar with a kleenex and there you go!! What the #!@$ is wrong with Lexmark. Oh, in case you didn’t guess – THANK YOU!!!

  14. I was just about to toss it out and decided to google the question.
    Great, and thank you so much for the useful tip

  15. I was also about to throw my 6180 out. Thankfully your fix for the 0502 error worked. Now, does anyone have a fix for the paper feed problem where the paper grabs from one side about 70% of the time?

  16. Hey, thanks for posting this fix, it really worked for my Lexmark X6170. I had this problems for months, so i decided not to use this printer anymore, i only used it to fax and copy (that still seemed to work withour hardware error) but was printing with an other printer. But now it seems to work fine again.
    I also have the problems that the printer grabs the paper from one side. But this problem seems to reduce when you put a small number of papers in the feeder (max 20 or so). Then it seems to work better. I somebody has a more permanent solution, please post is here. thx

  17. Tried the paper towel trick on my Dell A10 A960 getting that error code. Works great. Thanks!

  18. Thanks for the awesome tip! I too was ready to throw the damn thing out of the window (Lexmark x5150)… a simple wipe with a Kleenex and we are back to business (o:]

  19. This is great!!!!!!!!!!!I wasted so much time on my own looking for serious problem with my printer,but I never thought it was so simple.Thanks.


  20. ive tried wiping the strip and the metal rod, and still i continue to recieved this 502 error, just about to introduce this to my baseball bat.

  21. OMG! I love you! It worked perfectly.
    Actually, I feel smart after reading the other posts: I get the problem last night while doing homework and just decided to use another printer and see if it would go way. This morning I persisted, so I googled: |+lexmark +help +errors| and you were the first thing I tried. Instead of waiting a month and/or replacing my ink, I fixed it in the first 8 hours . 😉

  22. Thanks worked just like you said
    Glad found before went to service
    and got there run around

  23. Cleaning the guiderail worked for me as well, but after about 1 page of successful printing, it started making this ridiculous squeaking noise every time the cartridge carrier moved across the rail. I popped it open again and put some lubricant on the kleenex and wiped the rail down again. Not only did the lube pull A LOOOOOT more residue off, it also stopped the squeaking. I recommend lubing the rail.

  24. I had been havin a problem printing and my printer(6170) said ALIGNMENT PROBLEM… Couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but it was squeaking when I would try to print the alignment page or test the new cartridge. Found this site, tried it.. it worked in a second. Just cleaned the rod with a damp cleanex.. THANKS SO MUCH!!!

  25. Ditto. My Dell A960 same problem. Was ready to go out today and buy new printer and googled question. Great solution. Thanks. Gotta love the internet community.

  26. Wow! That worked perfectly! I have a Dell A960 and was afraid I would have to have my work buy me a new one. I just ran a Kleenex across it twice and that was all it took. Thanks! (Did I mention I love the internet!?!)

  27. Yay it worked -I almost thrw my printer out the window. So happy I didn’t, thanks for this!!

  28. My encoder strip has completely fallen off my lexmark 4270. I tried and tried to get it back on with no success. I ended up ripping the square hole on the end-open. So now its totally useless.
    Now my print cartridges are slamming against the left side of my printer and I have the 1200 Error. I changed ink, wiped bars. What the hell is an encoder bar anyways? Is that why its banging frantically against the left side? I just bought this thing. My boss is going to be furious!!!! Someone help me!

  29. As with previous victims your cure worked like a charm! I too found your site by googling Lexmark Hardware error 0502 after getting it twice…..I’m not one of those “go to the manufacturer first for good answers kind of people!” : ) THANKS!!

  30. WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOO IT WORKED I have been dealing with that delimma for awhile…. Thanks so much All……

    Happy Camper

  31. Thank you! I have a Dell A940 All in One printer with the same error message. I just wiped it down and it works great again (I also thought I needed new cartidges, or that somehow Dell sent me the wrong ones).

  32. I’ve got a Lexmark X5150, and have had the hardware 502 problem for a couple of months now.
    I cleaned the metal rod with a kleenex as suggested, but think I’ve accidentally done something in the process!
    Now when I turn the printer on, the carriage slams across to the left hand side (with an almighty bang!) and immediately gives a hardware 502 error. It looks as though I may have inadvertantly moved the plastic strip. (It seems as though the plastic strip will move from left to right, but NOT from right to left.) I’ve tried moving the strip along manually, but continue to get this teriffic ‘bang’ as the carriage slams into the side of the printer (although the carriage ends up in a different position as I move the plastic strip along).
    Is there a way of fixing this, or do I need to look for a new printer?

  33. Me again!

    Looking into this a bit further, I decided that the problem must be due to that plastic strip having become detatched from the carriage.
    I moved the carriage to the centre, removed the print cartridges, and wiggled the plastic strip as described on the Lexmark support website. It did eventually seem to ‘catch’, but too a bit of time (and wiggling!).
    The printer does seem to be working again now. I’ve printed off a 2 page document, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the problem is resolved!

  34. I have a dell A940…Wiping the metal bar worked perfectly…thanks for the tip…I wonder does using cartridges othe than dell seem to be the cause of the problem…the problem only started to occur after I started using cartridges other than dell ink…Thanks again for the awesome, simply and inexpensive tip!!!

  35. Advice on error 0502 seems to have worked on my dell A960.
    Dell support and knowledge base of no help: just went in menu circles.I was unable to get local help: It all seems to be controlled by the printer companies. For Shame to produce and unreliable product with no good follow up.

  36. Many thanks, a quick cleaning just ended my 1 hour morning frustration of trying to make a few copies and useing a useless troubleshooting guide.

  37. For the past couple of weeks .. I had been getting the “0502″ error on my Lexmark 5150. Today I decided to further investigate the problem. Within 2 mins of searching and with one Click I found this site and cured my Blues.

    Thanks to all the people that post here.. your question and answers have made my life a little easier.

  38. Thanks for the tip re “0502” error. Lucky for me- I found the answer immediately. Now about the paper feed problem??

  39. Have got a DELL A940 printer and tryed cleaning inside as has been said and ended up taking out the carrier bar to lube it. Now with it back on the ink cartridges and stiff and dont move easily. It also gets stuck on the left hand side because it it too low. HELPPP PLEASE!!!!!!!!

  40. Thank you so much. This has happened twice. The first time I found the incredibly involved Lexmark site instructions and was about to throw the machine out. Thank you for putting this out to help us.

  41. I went around and around with my parents’ printer, trying to fix this problem. THANK YOU. I wiped and got the black residue; printer now works just fine.

  42. Wow!! I tried everything except wiping off the metal bar. Nothing worked. I have had this problem for many months. After I wiped the metal bar, the 502 error problem was cured. Thank you Clem!

  43. Thank you mucho. This has been making me nutty for months. I have tried so many things and ended up insanely frustrated every time! It will be a miracle to not have expletives running around every time I try to print 😉

    Thank you and God Bless you for your ingenuity!

  44. I have a Lexmark 5150 and accross all of my color copies I am getting a series of dicrete blue lines spaced about 2 cm apart. It happens everytime I print or copy a document in color and doesn’t seem to happen with the b and w images. Cleaning and running the test programs do no good. I have tried Lexmark support and they say I need a new printer. Help.

  45. marty, did you actually clean the encoder strip that runs behind the cartridge carrier?….this strip is read by the cartridge electronics. It will become coated with the ink mist from atomized hot ink as the print jobs are performed. If it is dirty, it cannot be read by the cartridge electronics, and will produce some very weird printing mistakes.

    The cartridge carrier steel rod also becomes coated with ink and will cause drag on the cartridge carriers. They operate in unison with the paper rollers that position the paper line by line as needed for the print job..if they get out of alignment, the printer cannot function.

    Clean the encoder strip with an alcohol swab GENTLY…the encoder strip is attached on a spring system on one end and to a metal tab on the other. It is easy (if you are not careful) to cause the encoder strip to come loose…then, it requires a complete disassembly to reconnect. With a piece of tissue or a small artists brush…very lightly lubricate the steel rod and manually move the cartridge carrier back and forth 3 or 4 times applying a light touch of lube (I use a fishing reel light paste lube in a tube).

    This should take care of the printing problems…if not, then you may actually need a new printer.

    The Lexmark Tech Support can only assist with common problems people have from not reading the manual or just missing the operating procedure…they cannot offer advice for heavy maintenance.

  46. Rob- sorry for the delay – I tried to clean the encoder strip and metal rod with no success. I appreciate your detailed response. I guess its time for a new all in one.


  47. Awesome! This is exactly the answer I was looking for since giving my old X6150 to my father for his office. Thanks so much for the detailed post and all the comments. Thank you thank you thank you.

  48. I’d cleaned the rod with a paper towel and a little WD 40. Now I’m wondering if it was the tissue paper. It worked like a charm. The encoder strip had come off. I did find a way to get it back on. That just seemed to easy. I almost threw it in the trash yesterday. Thank you, thank you.

  49. Thank you! Thank you!! I’ve been researching this error 0502 for days and simply wiping of the rod worked!! Halleluiah!! I have brand new ink cartridges and several important documents to print…… finally I can get it done!

  50. For Mike Miller:

    Since you found the solution for your printer problem and there are a few guys who got the encoder strip off. Wouldn´t it be nice you to share the “easy way” to get it back on?

    Thank your for your comprehension…

  51. After powering up the X5150 that was given to me because it wasn’t working, the 0502 error message appeared immediately when turning it on. Seeing from this board how it was related to the print heads, I decided to give them a look. At my first glance the locks for the cartridges appeared to be loose, but upon closer examination and removing one of them, I realized that they were both installed UPSIDE DOWN. After correcting the problem it worked like a charm. I figured that I’d share my experience in the event anybody else runs across this issue, which was amusing enough to make me chuckle. 😉

  52. I cant thank you enough the same problem would just stop printing, I too was ready to buy a new one but I had someone come over and take a look at it and saw your fix it problems and one two three he did the wipe with some fantastik and there you go its printing as good as the day I bought it. thank you a 100 times over cannot believe such a simple solution and its working. I have to say that my printer does the same thing with the paper grabs it on the side. The only solution to that is not put in a bulk of paper just about 10-20 papers and its fine…well good luck everybody and thank you for saving my lots of $$$ it was going out the window soon…

  53. Mike Miller:

    Re: Encoder Strip is Totally Off Printer Cartridges
    Hardware Error 502 on Lexmark X5150
    Mine is completely off. I am holding it in my hand. I have been trying to replace it for 2 days.
    There is a ‘D’ on one end and a ‘F’ with a downward arrow on the other end.
    Please tell me and the rest of this blog how to properly replace the encoder strip.

    Thank you!

  54. Great my 76 year old dad (bless him) was having trouble and he wanted me to come round and fix it. I was able to get help from you via a google search. Saved me a good hour and a half on a busy day where chargeable hours are valuable.
    And my dad thinks I’m a genious!! Thanks heaps will use this more often.

  55. Worked a treat! Saved me getting the technicians in at work (made me look good in front of the boss too!). Thanks heaps!


  56. Thanks so much–thought I’d have to buy a new printer. Now Printing off copies like a charm. Printer was down for a long time. Could not find any help until I decide to google my problem. Now I can use my printer again! Thanks os much.

  57. No one seems to have answered the encoder strip question. I had the 502 error — did the cleaning and now have the encoder strip problem. Uggh. So I can’t even tell if the cleaning did the job on the 502 error.

  58. Thanks for the advice. I have a lexmark all in one. My ink was low so I changed it and then I started to get the 502 hardware error. I found my problem. A pit from a plum must have been on top of the printer when I was replacing the ink and feel inside.

  59. Mike Miller:

    Could you (or anyone) email me on how to put my encoder strip back on my printer. it is a lexmark 6150. i would greatly appreciate it.


  60. I cleaned the bar and the clear strip and I am still getting the 0502 message. I even lubed it up. I don’t know what else to do.

  61. I tried cleaning both the rail and the encoder strip and still have the 0502 error. Can you give any other suggestions?

  62. I found a thumb tap in mine .. lol thx for the info
    now i have a black cartridge missing when it’s in there

  63. I see I have joined an ‘elite’ group. I too have the 502 hardware error message on my lexmark 5150. I have tried wiping the bard and the encoder srtip is in its right place but still no joy. does anyone have any ideas? I have spent days on this and as a teacher I need to be able to print!

  64. Thanks… wiping the rod solved the 0502 error in my Lexmark X5130 all-in-one printer.

  65. Same problem but “solution” not working 🙁 I plan to give it shaken printer’s syndrome

  66. I Googled the error message 0502 and got you helpful people – the remedy worked for me too! Many thanks.

  67. I am having samee issue, Tried cleaning bar, not sure if Encoder is in correct slot, only had x6170 just a bit over one year

  68. Ok, Ok just another very gratful googler this saved are printer from the fate of that fax machine on office space thank you again

  69. thanks a lot for the help.
    Your remedy if perfect even here in italy. ciao ciao from Sicily

  70. What a great tip !!
    I almost threw it away but…YOU saved it !!!
    Yiassu to everybody from Greece

  71. you are awesome. this worked perfectly! thanks so much. i was ready to throw my printer away!!

  72. Clem is just plain brillant! I have been fiddling with this problem for over 4 weeks and finally left the Lexmark site (as their instructions obviously weren’t working) — found this link and PRESTO! My printer is working just fine again! Thanks so much! K

  73. Did anyone figure out how to get the encoder strip back on their printer. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  74. Wiping the encoder strip works the first time, and then it stops working for me! I’ve been having this problem and it is getting worse each time. I have the same lexmark printer (6170).

  75. Hi why can`t tell me nobody where I must put the F and the D many people tells about the strip but how do you put it back on ?????the strip is very dirty after cleaning i need to put is on the right spot who can tell me how???must the F left or right I can`t see nothing thanks for helping a dutchy jos

  76. I have just about scrapped my Lexmark 5150 because of the 0502 error. Many unanswered questions about the correct position of the tape. I am not sure if it makes any difference at all which way it goes in. But if there is a correct way it would be nice to know. I have tried just about every which way but it still crashes on power on. I really need the scanner as I have another printer.

  77. you have just saved my printer life 😀
    I was about to throw it of the window …. in 10sec I clean it and now is perfect.
    thanks for the tip.

  78. You all sooo rock!!! This totally did the trick. I couldn’t find even a mention of this error code in my so called ‘user manual’. Excellent excellent. If you have a paypal account – Id like to send you a donation for this site – you;re all lifesavers!!!

    Thank you 🙂

  79. This 502 error message has been driving me berserk!!! As well as my son! I went to the Dell site and got no help. I googled my problem and got this website.
    I have cleaned the rod and, miracle of miracles!!! I can print again!!!! Thanks so much! I was ready to stomp this thing to death!

  80. Thanks so much! the hardware 0502 error was driving us crazy.My dad was ready to do away with the machine and buy a better unit. Like you instructed, all I did was wipe down the metal rod and the encoder strip. It took all of about 30 seconds and now my x5160 model works like a charm again. Thank you for your help.

  81. Just wanted to say thank you very much. I have had the 0502 hardware error for the past two weeks on my Dell A960. I’ve had the printer for a while and the only tech support is paid by the second or something. I Googled this and found your site first. So far so good. Thanks for posting.

  82. it really did work by just wiping down used a little alcohol just to make kleenex a little moist tks…..

  83. I’d like to shed some light on a few things that have been talked about here about the Dell A960 and probably works for other Lexmark/Dells that are similar. I recently found a A960 in a garbage dumpster close to where i live…i don’t usually pickup garbage but it was neatly packed in an HP box and was in really good shape. Upon powering the unit, i got the famous “Hardware Error 0502”. After cleaning the polished rod the error still came up, so i looked at the encoder strip. It was detached from the back of the carriage. For the life of me i couldn’t get the strip into the “slot”, or infared eye, nor could i find any pictures of what lies behind the carriage. I finally ended up disassembling the unit. I discovered that a piece of foam tape had been applied to the open end of the slot, not allowing the strip to enter, and probably supposed to help keep it from falling out. I cleaned the rod, strip, and other parts of the unit, lubricated, slid the strip through the sensor and reconnected it and re-assembled the unit. Works like new. All i can figure is the strip came off, and someone tried to attach it back to the clip and didn’t know about the sensor. By the way, i noticed that there were questions about how the encoder strip should be positioned. Mine was positioned with the F and an arrow pointing down on the left side, and the D on the right side. I hope my info can assist some of you in fixing your Lexmark/Dell printers.

  84. I wiped the round bar the cartridges my X5152 Lexmark printer travels on and it worked! The error message was gone!

  85. My encoder strip came off too. MSnipes said that the left side contains the F and the Right side is the one marked D. Where do these sides attach? I cannot find any hooks or slot where these fit in. Can some one explain where I have to hook the ends to? I appreciate it.

  86. You’re the man Clem baby ! This shit actually works. Was about to throw the printer away and get a new one. Cleaned the rod on which the cartridges travel and hey presto !


  87. Used this tip (paper towel) on my Dell A960 printer & it worked great! Now if I can just get the paper to feed straight I’d be in business

  88. Is this slot that the encoder strip slides into in the middle of the cartridge carrier or on the right or left side? Any pictures available? Having trouble finding the slot.

  89. After 2 months I have finally fixed my printer and wanted to offer some insight on how I got the encoder strip back on my Dell A940.

    As WSnipes advised I placed the side with the F and the down arrow on the left side. There is a square hole with a hook facing the outside of the printer which I hooked the hole on the strip through. On the right side of the printer there is a larger hole with a thin metal strip on three sides of it. The metal strip also has a hook on it. In order to attach the right side of the strip, the side with a D on it, I had to flip my printer on it’s back so that I was able to get 2 hands inside on the right side. My left hand held the strip and went into the printer where you put the cartridges in. I placed my right hand through the bottom of the printer where printed pages come out of it. I then used my right hand to push the thin metal strip with the hook towards the encoder strip and eventually got it hooked on. Be patient, this took me a while to figure out.

    After this triumph, I attempted to attach the encoder strip to the back of the cartridge carrier as they advise on the Dell website. I thought this was the easy part and after 2 hours of no luck I refered back to WSnipes and tried to feel for the foam tape he spoke of. Sure enough there was a piece of foam tape covering the slot located on the back center of the cartridge carrier. After removing this with my fingernail the encoder strip went easily into the slot and my printer finally worked!

    My thanks to WSnipes for his/her insight. These steps were not as easy as they sound. It took me 2 months, a lot of ink on my hands, and raw knuckles on my hands. So be patient and I hope this helps!

  90. Great solution! Cleaning the bar fixed the problem immediately and now it’s working like a charm. Thanks so much!!

  91. res. why 0502 error comes why dont u rectify problem online even though we tried a lot to clean strip,rod but same message “hardware error 0502”.
    pl. help me to solve the problem

  92. Thank yo uso much…I can’t beleive i waited so long to look up this error…i cleaned it and it works beautiful now..Thank you Clam

  93. absolutely brilliant clem.Lexmark p4350 failed to acknowledge color cartridge,cleaned rod then got error message 1102.went to lexmark website and had to remove power source from computer and replace 30 sec later.am now printing…have to work out next problem now photo has come out very pink…back to the drawing board!at least this is a start thanks again

  94. This worked! Thanks for the tip! Even the people on the help line weren’t able to help. They said to just trash the printer when this did the trick!

  95. Thanks, much, to Amy and WSnipes, for the description of reinstalling the encoder strip. I would like to update this with an additional note to explain the hook on the right-hand side. I just didn’t see the hook and where to find it after reading those entries.

    Amy described it as a thin metal strip on three sides of the largest rectangular hole on the right-hand end of the carriage, with a hook on it. What I didn’t understand from that description is that the wire is really a sensitive spring steel wire, with what looks like a small “bump” in the middle of the side not attached to the frame. The wire looks like it is flat, but actually has a “bump” that extends away from the print cartridge carriers and forms the hook that Amy refers to. Sorry, but looked at that wire for a long time before I realized that its shape formed the hook. I kept looking for something else to hook the strip onto.

    After my son and I finally figured out what everyone was trying to tell us, it took about 20 minutes to reattach the strip, clean it, and test the printer, which worked great again. No more Hardware Error: 0502.

    Thanks, again, to Amy and WSnipes, for sharing their perspective and encouragement.


  96. Found this website to be extremely helpful but still has not solved my hardware 0502 error, for my Dell 960A all in one printer.
    First my problem started when I had not realized that a pen was stuck in the paper slot , so when the paper jammed ,the 0502 error started.In my frustration to clean the rail , etc , the encoder strip came off. I just want anyone who has a similar problem to follow some of the other post advice , except I used an illuminated mirror that came with a toothpick device( GUM is the brand name) to look in the back of the print head . I discovered that you can push until you are blue in the face and you will never get the encoder strip to slip in place as per some instructions from the Lexmark site. The encoder strip must pass through a small enclosed box in the back . This mirror really helped to SEE what was going on back there.Anyway I have cleaned the rails, encoder strip , found the pen and still Hardware 0502. Now the issue is probably more a sensor or something is NG.The print head slams into the side and doesn’t move gracefully. I will probably have to get a new printer since I have exhausted all . It really bites that I just got new ink for it .
    Hope this helps someone out there.
    Hey aren’t there any Lexmark/IBM Service Repairers out there with the knowledge to shed soem light on these issues ?

  97. Hi,

    I encountered the same problem where i got “Hardware Error 0502” on the LCD display few weeks ago.

    After all, i decided to buy new ink for the black and color and replaced it, still it doesnt work.

    After read throught all the comments and suggestions given above, i did the same e.g. wipe this rod etc but seems like it doesnt solve the prob.

    In the end, i follow the instructions as what lexmark support site given, and it works.

    In conclusion, i would say, this error can be caused by different scenario. What i did is, i just tried all the suggestions/comments given by people and lexmark support site. 🙂

  98. I have a Dell A940 that was showing the error 0502. I got a tissue and wiped the bar down real good. The error is now gone. THANKS!!

  99. talk to someone at staples about the error 05502 and he told me to get on the computor and go to this site and you would tell me what to do and i did this and it seem to work. thanks again cause i was so annoyed and ready to buy another copier and printer ,thanks for all your help Dave

  100. Paper towel wiping made my X6100 printer work perfect!! Someone should really try telling Lexmark!!

  101. What a super web site… I was about to ask my X5150 to pick a window to be thrown through. You have saved me a lot of time, money and bad language.

    Thanks again

  102. This trick will work with all Lexmark printers but is best to use lint free cloth in pure alcohol for really stubborn ones, paper pickup problems should be able to be cured by applying the likes of AF Platenclene.

  103. Thanks a million for this! I tried to figure the problem out for a week but had no success. Changing cartridges, stop-clear button, etc. Thanks again

  104. Printer blows….cartridges are like $60 for both…take your money and get a new one – HP anything.

  105. Hooray! Thanks for the tip. Funny how everyone on here was about to throw it out – I told my wife the same thing – “If these new cartridges don’t work, I’m throwing the damn thing onto the highway!”

    I just grabbed a napkin and give the shiny bar a good thorough cleaning It worked, thanks a lot!!!!!!


  107. Fantastic! we thought the damn thing was history, but working fine again now i’ve wiped the rod!! CHEERS!!!

  108. Great tip! My ancient printer often produced the 502 hardware error message when in the middle of printing. Took your advice. Works like new again now. Thanks very much for sharing this info. 🙂

  109. thanx for the tip…worked to a degree! Still having problems printing from web pages (X5150) Downloaded drivers etc from Lexmark site but still something not quite right. So it’s still getting the boot for an all in one photoprinter whose cartridges are cheaper.

  110. Success! (After many tries)

    I also had the 0502 error. I saw this site and the corresponding original message from ‘clem.’ I cleaned the rod with a tissue several times, cleaned it with the paper towel, messed with the encoder strip, and still it wouldn’t work. I used spray cleaner with paper towel on the rod and still couldn’t get it to work. There didn’t seem to be any black residue left to clean. But I persisted. I slid the cartridge back and forth trying to feel where resistance might be. It kept getting stuck when in the far left position but slid easily across the rest of the bar. So then I took the some spray cleaner on a paper towel and cleaned the left inside wall of the printer where the rod connects to the plastic side. Apparently, that’s what was causing my 0502 error because that last cleaning seemed to do the trick.

    Moral of the story: keep cleaning until your 0502 error goes away!

    Thanks so much for keeping this site up and running – it has saved me and many others from unnecessarily buying new printers.

  111. Theres obviously a lot of love in the room for the tissue wiping of the bar to fix the error. i need a solution to error 1102!! Its driving me mad. Hoping for similar success!

  112. Sorry dudes it dosent work 4 me
    idk why i triedalot of ways mayb my
    printer is just broken
    i need this to workcuz of some
    projects i need to finish its very important
    and plus i dont have money to buy a new
    one and i cant be goin to my friends house evry
    day to print something
    out it fels rong

  113. I cannot believe how valuable this site is! When printing on my Lexmark x6170 the left side of the pages were always smudged and “missing” information. I tried cleaning the print nozzles (by hand and via the control center), realigning the cartriges, etc., etc., etc. In fact, I was becoming so frustrated with bankrupt results that I was literally going to chuck the printer out the window and go buy a new one. Unbelievably, all I had to do was thoroughly clean that transparant plastic strip thingy that runs horizontal behind the printer cartriges from one side of the printer to the other (took about 1 minute) and “voila” my printer prints like new again!! I am so happy now and can now get some work done around here without having to alway go to my office to print stuff. Thanks a million!!!

  114. Thanks for the fix on the printer hardware error 0502. Cleaning the metal bar seemed to fix the problem of freezing up when copying.


  116. i clean it but the problem still…when the ink move u hear a strong voice from it….help me plssssssssssssss


  118. This worked like a charm!
    I had, however, to turn on the printer while the cover was open, in order to get the cartridges to go in the middle, so I could clean the left side of the rod as well.
    Thank you so much for saving me lots of $$$ and pain!

  119. Many thanks Clem and google as this is what does the trick. I have tried everything under the sun and finally stumbled onto your website and wiping the silver rod with a paper towel does the trick alright. It is hard to believe it was that easy of a fix. Many thank you’s for your advise, very helpful.

  120. worked for me! I thought I was going to have to pull the whole thing apart!!! Thanks “Clem”!

  121. worked a treat after 2 hours sodding around, uninstalling, reinstalling, checking the rabbit who comes in in the evenings had not eaten the cable. only wanted to scan how annoying i was getting.

    brill advice

    many thanks – just wish the lexmark would have the deceny to tell people rather than wait for us to pay for repairs or buy a new one.

    lexmarx x5150 – cleaning metal rod A++++

  122. It worked! I thought I was gonna spend a day trying to fix this. Once I read this it took about one minute. Thank you!

  123. Hey, I was having the same problem that wiping the bar wasn’t clearing my 0502, and I dislodged the strip, but fiddled until it got back on. I had taken out the cartridges while doing that, and accidently booted back up without them in place. Suddenly the carrier “assumed the position” looking for ink. Now everything is fine. For folks still stymied, try powering up without the cartridges. It seems that a “no ink” error trumps 0502, and makes the machine forget it was trying to drive you mad.

  124. Tried cleaning the rod etc, replaced catridges, will copy and scan but when I test print only goes to about 40% and then fails? Help, Thanks

  125. I have a Lexmark P4350. I keep getting the message Error 1102. I have replaced the cartdidge, cleaned the rod. Nothing works. Please help me b4 I throw this printer out of the window.

  126. Yay!! I hated the thought of having to throw this thing out – you saved us! Thanks 🙂

  127. Thanks for the help; I use this machine now as a fax and back up printer; got the message a couple of weeks ago and it’s been pretty useless ever since. Finally googled and found your post. It worked! Thanks for the help.

  128. Thanks for the tip
    Had the 0502 error on a Lexmark all in one at the office that we use mainly for scanning
    I was about to get another all in one for scanning when i came across your tip
    Works like a charm
    I am free now
    You saved my visa some charges

  129. Thank you!!!!! I was about ready to toss my printer. I just used your tips and now my printer is working fine, no more error messages

    ; )

  130. During the cleaning of the rod ,there was a thin tinted plastic strip about 13 inches long this strip came loose .I do not know where it belongs ,Can some one help ?
    thank you

  131. Maybe somebody at Lexmark should check this out, duh!
    Anyway THANK YOU!!! It worked great!!!

  132. Your tip is just amazing and unbelievable. I have an X6170 for several years and tried many other things before – without success. I was close to through that s… machine away and buy a new one.
    It took me 20 seconds to clean that metal rod and: it works just perfect, as good as a new printer !!
    Great thip, many thanks

  133. Hey, thanks for the tip. I don’t know why I haven’t found your post before. This was my 4th time that I was looking for a solution, and FINALLY! :))
    I have a Lexmark X5150, and after cleaning the metal rod, that transpatent plastic strip was disattached and I had the same problem as Alan’s (the carriage slams across to the left hand side (with an almighty bang!))
    But after wiggling for about a minute, that plastic strip caught the carriage (of cartriges) and started to slide normally again.
    Thanks for the post, and another thanks goes to Alan, way back to 2007! :))

  134. Thumbs up to you! Cleaning the rod with a tissue worked! Thanks so much for your help! I was about to throw the printer in the garbage! You saved me lots of money and saved the printer unnecessary disposal!

  135. This was frigging brilliant!!! Just googled the error message and read this site. Wiped the printer bar with a tissue. Right back in business!! I have a model X5150. Thanks so much!! I think I will refer my IT department to this site!

  136. Hey my printer gets this all the time. I usually just open it up, slide the cartlidges back and forth let it set for a minute and then it does the job fine!

  137. Unreal! I was ready to chuck the printer… decided to type the error message in google… 3 minutes later, printing like a pro! Thanks!

  138. Thanks so much to everyone who posted here! My Dell all-in-one was fine for years, then this 0502 error started up and it has been driving me MAD. I was about to solve the problem with defenestration when I googled and got this website. I cleaned and lubricated the metal rod, and so far the printer is working again. This 30-second fix has saved some expensive window glass!

  139. This site was really helpful in fixing my Lexmark 502 printer error. After cleaning everything and wiggling the plastic strips my printer is working again. I was 15 minutes away from buying a new printer. Thanks again.

  140. I opened mine up to try the “clean the rod trick” and found a paper jam, but no paper jam error…cleared the jam and that cleared the 0502 error!

  141. thanks a million,i tried for hours with checking catridges.claening the rod really worked

  142. Had the 0502 error and was frustrated. Found your blog and cleaned the metal rod and Presto! It works. Thanks!

  143. Thank you guys.My lexmark x6170 had the error 0502.Cleaned the rod.All OK.Thanks to all the people here.

  144. I can’t even believe that’s all it took to fix it. Thank you so much. We were getting ready to just go buy another printer.

  145. Thank you so much for the advice. I tried wiping the rod but it didn’t help. I started looking more in depth into the problem and noticed that a fishing hook was under something making the cartridges not go all the way across the rod!! I wouldn’t have known where to start if it wasn’t for this post.

  146. Clem you are a legend cheers mate, that’s just got me out a lot of trouble as I needed to do a load of printing tonight.

    What a tip as the printer works perfectly again.

    Cheers again.

  147. Help! The thin tinted plastic strip fell off and I have NO IDEA where to put it back. Can someone please help before I throw it all out! THANKS!!

  148. Thanks a lot for this, my P6350 is back up and running after 2 minutes of cleaning.

    Prior to reading this site I spent about an hour trying to figure out the problem!

  149. I cant get my cartridge to move from left side. i tried everything EVEN tapping it with small hammer.. Help,, Error 0502

  150. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The paper towel trick worked for the error 0502 on my Lexmark.

  151. This is SIMPLY amazing!! It really does work and it only takes 5 seconds to clean. Many thanks for the awesome tip.

  152. Clem thank thank very much over a year i had this problem i just bought a printer but this was just a life saver i got so much of ink for this printer and could not used it on no other printer mine is a A960

  153. I was going to get rid of the all in one, I love this machine
    and was not looking foward to doing so!
    Cleaning it works, my hat off to you Sir!


  154. Thank you! Thank you!
    Wiping very briefly worked and I was able to print my document in full. I am so happy.

  155. Thanks for the wonderful tip – I was sure I would have to purchase a new printer and did not want to. I have a Dell all in one and just recently started experiencing this problem. Thanks again!

  156. Thank you!!!! You have no idea how many head aches I’ve gone through trying to get this to work. Who knew it was so simple to fix?!

  157. A minha empressora Lexmark X5150 ora dá error 0502 ou não im prime o papel A4 sai em branco.
    Podem ajudar-me?

  158. Thanks, it truly did work. Had to wipe it a couple of times but it sure is a lot easier than the lexmark directions!!!!!!!!


  160. Thanks so much – I was having so much trouble with this until I saw your site and tried it and it was fixed in minutes. Really appreciate the tip – it was a great help.

  161. In addition to cleaning the rod on which ink cartridges travel on, I had to clean the sensor cable (flat plastic cable that runs less than an inch above the metal rod and looks like as though it runs through cartridges) with a tissue. That did the trick.

  162. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU…your a lifesaver. (and the life you saved was my husbands) I thought for sure he trashed the printer somehow since it had worked for just a few minutes before!

  163. thanks – very helpful tip and you’ve saved me a lot of time stuffing around with my printer!!!

  164. Mine’s a Dell (but made by Lexmark). I had this problem over a year ago and was lucky enough to stumble upon the original comment thread here; following these instructions instantly fixed the problem. The printer just started up again with the “hardware error 0502”; good thing I’d bookmarked this site! I just cleaned the rod once again and am optimistic that I’ll be okay for another year or so. Thanks once more! And, Clem, whoever you are, your name will live on as legend.

  165. dear freinds and Clem
    the Lexmark tech suport, is one of the worst (Lenovo is worst)next time i will buy something else
    any way thanks a lot for the greate simple help

  166. While cleaning the bar, which was black with residue, I moved the cartridge carrier and that screwed it up because now it doesn’t go back where it should be and still says Hardware error 0502. Do you have any thoughts on what I could do? and Thanks for the cleaning tip, regardless. milly

  167. My Dad called me with this problem. I did a internet search and fortunately landed at this site first. My Dad sends a big kiss to Clem!

  168. With the print head in the middle, put two drops of transmission fluid on the rail each side of the head. Run the head side to side a couple of times, (power off), the travel is now virtually frictionless and the head will not wear.

  169. i’m sure that fix works fine. except i started messing with the encoder strip, and guess what, it came out! now i cant get it back in. trying to take the box apart, removed all exposed screws, and it wont come apart. wish i saw this site first! does anyone know of any instructions on how to put the encoder strip back in place (it is completely out now). thanks.

  170. I have cleaned the rod and strip but now the cartridge carrier seems to slam into the sides upon start-up and I still get the error. Any advice?

  171. Have had the all in one for several years. Waz going to get rid of it because have gotten the Hardware error 0502 message off and on for the past year. But this tip REALLY worked.
    Thanks so much…YOU DA MAN!!!

  172. Same error 0502 here, but in my case the encoder strip was dirty. Cleaning it solved the problem.

  173. I was getting the same Hardware warning and I cleaned the slide rod off and even added just a tiny bit of WD 40 also cleaned up the whole area very carefully the Hardware note still comes up and now the machine will not start up again I did the whole turn off , then back on again, with the computer and the Lexmark X 6150 multi task machine will not power up, and that was never a problem Any suggestions????

  174. Thank you so much Clem – have wasted loads of paper and time trying to sort this problem out. Just came across your handy tip and it works – fantastic – very many thanks

  175. Back in Business! I too, was going to get rid of the printer, you saved the day. I have fooled with the encoder strip and spent valuable minutes of my life needlessly. THANK YOU

  176. Glad I found this information. I was thinking I’d have to replace my old Lexmark X5150. This fixed it. I’m good for a few more years! Thanks for a good, simple solution.

  177. Wiped metal rod that the cartridges travel on with a paper
    towel and problem went away. Thank you very much.
    Money saved. New printer not needed.

  178. ok code went away not paper wont feed at all any suggestions makes a loud wretching noise now Please help!

  179. Hey!! it worked for me! I tried unplug power and plug back in, Did not work. Instead, your suggestion worked! thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.